January 15, 1997 – Subaru unveils production Forester for US market

subaru forester
First generation Subaru Forester

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has long been the show of choice for many automakers to unveil their latest models for the US and beyond. This rang true on this day in 1997 when the North American production version of the Subaru Forester debuted at the show. The vehicle originally made headlines at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 1995 as the Streega concept. Credited as one of the first crossovers, Subaru slapped it with the slogan, “SUV tough, car easy.”

The first generation of the Forester officially launched in the US in late 1997 for the 1998 model year. It featured a boxy design with a raised roofline, while sharing a platform with the Subaru Impreza. It was heralded for itsadditional ground clearance and a more spacious interior. Over the years, Subaru continued to refine and update the Forester, introducing the second generation in 2002. This version showcased a sleeker and more modern design, along with improved safety features and enhanced performance. The Forester became known for its symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, which contributed to its reputation as a capable and reliable vehicle in various driving conditions.

Subaru Forester history

2025 subaru forester
2025 Subaru Forester. By Autosdeprimera, CC BY 3.0

Subsequent generations of the Forester brought further advancements, including more powerful engines, updated technology, and improved safety systems. The vehicle evolved to meet changing market demands while maintaining its focus on practicality and outdoor versatility.

As the years passed, the Subaru Forester gained recognition for its fuel efficiency, spacious interior, and rugged yet comfortable ride. It became a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts and families alike, solidifying its position in the competitive compact SUV segment. Today, the Subaru Forester continues to be a well-regarded crossover SUV, known for its combination of practical features, safety innovations, and off-road capabilities.

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